The Seagate Free Agent GoFlex Docks were an excellent product, allowing interchange of hard disk drives and connectivity protocols. They made USB 3, FireWire, and even NAS docks for these hard disk drives. But the connector is standard SATA and could be used with any drive. So I created a 3D printable adapter and released it on Thingiverse!
The Apple Thunderbolt Ethernet Adapter really is a full PCI express device, complete with its own Ethernet controller! This is easily the smallest and cheapest Thunderbolt peripheral to date, and suggests a bright future for similar devices in the future.
Earlier this week, Hitachi GST (soon to be part of Western Digital) announced they would soon ship a 1 TB single-platter hard disk drive. But archrival Seagate rained on their parade financing immediate shipment of their own 4 TB unit. With the industry consolidating rapidly, it’s good to see healthy competition among the two remaining hard disk drive giants.
The other day, I bought 6 TB of storage for under $300. This statement alone is startling to folks like me who have been following the storage and hard disk drive industry. Searching for a faster alternative led me to crack open the case and experiment with the drive inside.
My experience using USB 3.0 on a Mac has been wonderful. It’s so well-integrated you might not notice it except for the performance. At over 200 MB/s, it blows FireWire out of the water and is even faster than nearly any device you’re likely to throw at it. CalDigit sent me their Mac OS X-compatible USB 3.0 PCI Express card for evaluation, and I’m pleased as punch with the card.
One of the daily hassles of using Apple Macintosh computers is the incompatibilities that arise with the broad Microsoft Windows world. Individual files often require conversion, but what about whole disks? Apple has long supported the universal and simplistic FAT filesystem, and added read-only support for NTFS back in 2003 in OS X 10.3 “Panther”. Third-party software like Paragon’s NTFS or the free NTFS-3G driver enabled read/write support, but a native solution was more desirable. Although 10.6 “Snow Leopard” includes NTFS write support, it is disabled by default. In this post, I’ll discuss methods for activating this native NTFS write support, as well as the pros and cons of doing so!
Steve Jobs isn’t too keen on USB 3.0, apparently, but other vendors are stepping in to fill the void. CalDigit was first with a USB 3.o driver, but it was tied to the pricey PCI Express and Mini-PCIe cards they sell. Now LaCie is out with a free driver for just about any USB 3.0 card, but it’s locked to LaCie’s storage products. Let’s hope we get an unlocked driver soon!
Storage capacity continues to move forward on both 3.5″ and 2.5″ hard disk drives. On the small form factor side, Western Digital was first with a 250 GB platter, then Seagate shot back with a 320 GB platter, then it was Hitachi at 375 GB. So it was only a matter of time until the magical half-terabyte mark would be reached, yielding 1 TB in a 2-platter drive. Now Seagate has done it, shipping a 2-platter 9.5 mm hard disk drive in their latest GoFlex portable case.
I’m a sucker for storage and networking so combining these two great tastes really gets me interested. I’ve been watching the CloudEngines Pogoplug with interest. It allows you to share a USB external hard disk drive across a LAN and even allows access over the Internet using the Pogoplug service. Last year, Seagate licensed the PogoPlug technology from CloudEngines and came out with their own-brand FreeAgent DockStar Network Adapter which includes the service. In addition to the special connector for Seagate’s pre-GoFlex portable hard drives, the DockStar has three standard USB ports for any old USB drive you might have hanging around.
The external hard disk drive market is incredibly hot right now, but it’s also ultra-competitive. The latest trend is dockable multi-function drives that are friendlier to use and offer advanced features like video playback. Most docks rely on USB 2.0, but Seagate just dropped a bomb on the industry with a simple twist: They moved the intelligence outside the case, repackaging the standard internal SATA connector as GoFlex, an external link to a variety of docks and adapters.